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Adventures in Southern India

Happy Long Life to You

INDIA | Monday, 4 February 2008 | Views [1440] | Comments [1]

Dear friends and family,

I decided that, instead of writing emails, I would use this travel journal website. That way you can follow my travel map and maybe see some pictures, if you are interested! Feel free to comment too or email! I'd love to get communication!

The first 6 days of my journey have been amazing. I took off on January 28th for the first leg of my trip around the world - Pittsburgh to Newark! (On the way home at the end of the month, I will fly through Korea to Hawaii, so I'll end up circling the globe!) I was greeted by the friendly faces of Sam and Prasad, HOINA staff, at the aiport and taken to the HOINA home for girls. It seems there was some miscommunication over the phone. Sam had trouble hearing my name and I was greeted by a sign that said "HOINA Welcomes Rozlin Vinci". Rozlin Vinci - Haley Chutz - so close! Haha. It was the first of many hilarious miscommunications on this trip.

Coming back to the girls' home was such a joy. Many of the girls remembered me from my visit 2.5 years ago, and they were thrilled to see me. They are so affectionate, I had at least 3 on each arm the whole time. I have this Rainman-like talent of remembering kids' names, and i remembered probably 2/3 of them, which made them really happy. They're hard names too! Nanditha, Chandrakala, Dhanalakshmi . . . I was able to lead their evening chapel, help with science studies, and do lots of gift-wrapping for their upcoming leap year celebration. They are such, beautiful, talented, and sweet girls. It was wonderful to be able to spend time with Parveen, the 5 year old girl I sponsor. She has to be the cutest little girl ever! It was awesome to get to see her life there and be a part of it for a little bit.

I also loved spending time with Darlene "Mom" Large, the woman who founded HOINA. She is totally my hero, and has shown me what one person has the power to do. Hearing her stories and seeing her work first hand has changed my life. I'm a little nervous around her and her mood can be difficult to read, but the impact of her work here can be summarized by the picture on the office wall of her with Mother Theresa (a personal friend). She's got 2 homes in India serving about 200-250 children. They are well-fed, well-clothed, loved, their home is full of cheer (colorful tile mosaics fill almost every wall), AND she pays for their college educations so they will never have to face poverty again. The impact of HOINA was brought into sharp focust today in the city when I saw small children sitting in a pile of dirt, ashes, and garbage on the side of the road playing with scraps of metal.

Noah got to come and meet me at HOINA on Feb. 1st! The second hilarious miscommunication. The office staff was eager to make arrangements to pick him up at the train station, so we were trying to call his cell phone. Half the time it said his number didn't exist, and half the time it rang but was never picked up. Sam kept saying, "Try again . . .Okay one more time. Please once again." I must have called him 50 times in 2 days. Reaching a state of high anxiety, they suggested I "Call his Daddy to check number." They were not put off by the fact that it was 2am in the states. Who could I call at 2 am to appease them? Aunt Tina of course! I called her, she called Uncle Tim, then she called Noah to see what was going on. It turned out he had been screening my phone calls the entire time, thinking I was his students from Delhi! Well, after Tina told him it was me calling, he answered his phone and were were able to arrange a ride for him. It was so cool to finally see him at HOINA! The girls loved him too and he was great with them. They call him Anna (brother) and me Akka (sister). As we sat in the guest house catching up and talking about our family, it hit me that we were sitting together in a village in India! After talking about traveling together for a couple of years, and not spending significant time together for probably 8 years, we were finally there. We are doing lots of laughing and talking, and can't wait to get started on the travels!

I love you all and miss you! Thanks for stickin' with the reading - I know it was long!

p.s. "Happy Long Life to You" is the third verse of the birthday song, as sung by the HOINA girls.

Tags: Laughter




hay, I am so proud and happy for your experiences .Wish I could be with you. Did I ever tell you that Mother teresa was My hero? I hope I get to find something here in the states that is as rewarding and helpful as Hoina orphanage. I know that you are going to make a difference in many lives because of having been there.You already are at Living Classrooms. Those children in India are very fortunate. How does a child get to be enrolled there?
Loving you. I carry you in my heart. Mom

ps Use your Dad's e-mail address, not mine, to communicate with me while we are here in Arizona. OK?

  Mom Feb 7, 2008 9:40 AM

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